Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Angel Hair with Fresh Marinara Sauce

I think almost everyone knows how to make a marinara sauce, but everyone has his or her own spin on it. I watched an episode of Lidia's Italian Table recently all about Marinara Sauce and decided to try it her way. It was great!

According to Lidia Bastianich, the difference between marinara sauce and tomato sauce is this:

Marinara is a quick sauce, seasoned only with garlic, pepper and, if you like basil or oregano. The pieces of tomato are left chunky and the texture of the finished sauce is fairly loose.

Tomato sauce, on the other hand is a more complex affair, starting with pureed tomatoes and seasoned with onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf, and left to simmer until thickened and rich in flavor.

FYI: the recipe on her website was slightly different than the episode on TV, so I included the differences in red.

Marinara Sauce
Servings: Makes about 1 quart, enough to dress 6 servings of pasta

On the show I believe she made a double recipe because she was using the marinara for 3 different dishes: Spaghetti Marinara, Sea Bass with Olives, Capers and Marinara and Chicken Breasts with Mozzarella and Marinara (which I will post next)

Ingredients: ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (1/2 cup)
8 garlic cloves, peeled 16 garlic cloves (sliced)
3 pounds ripe fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded, or one 35 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), seeded and lightly crushed, with their liquid
2 - 35 ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) (I used Tutto Rosso Crushed), with their liquid

About 1 cup of water added to can or bowl to slosh out the remaining tomatoes and their juices
Crushed red pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces (4 whole branches into the sauce while it cooks, discard it and add more fresh torn basil
before serving.)

Ricotta cheese for topping and serving

Directions: Make this sauce with fresh tomatoes only when the juiciest, most flavorful ripe tomatoes are available. (Increase the amount of olive oil a little if you make the sauce with fresh tomatoes.) Otherwise, canned plum tomatoes make a delicious marinara sauce.

Heat the oil in a 2 to 3-quart non-reactive saucepan (use larger pan for double recipe) over medium heat. Whack the garlic with the flat side of a knife, add it to the oil (add in sliced garlic) and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Crush the tomatoes with your hands to break up into smaller pieces. Carefully slide the tomatoes and their liquid into the oil. Add in the water and remaining tomatoes and juices from the can. Add the 4 whole branches of basil. Bring to a boil and season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper. Lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer and cook, breaking up the tomatoes with a whisk or spoon, until the sauce is chunky and thick, about 20 minutes. Remove the cooked basil. Stir in the basil about 5 minutes before the sauce is finished. Taste the sauce and season with salt and red pepper if necessary.

Cook pasta (Lidia used Spaghetti, but I used Angel Hair) until al dente (soft on the outside with a bite to the inside). Heat a large pan and add a few ladles of marinara sauce to it. Drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil. Add the pasta to the marinara sauce to finish cooking and more fresh torn basil if desired. Lift the pasta with tongs and twist onto a serving dish to form a mound. Add a small amount of marinara on top and a dollop of ricotta cheese. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Anonymous said...

Until i read your post, i had no idea what the difference was between tomato sauce and marinara. Thanks for enlightening me!

Deborah Eley De Bono said...

Oh I have her cookbook, too and should give this one a try. I love the simple sauce.

Anonymous said...

the marinara sause and angel hair with a dollop of ricotta cheese on top gave this dish a remarkable flavor not only good ,Excellent.Thank Annie,bambola